Oil Sands Mining / Smart Mining
2023 Focus: Materials and Designs to Improve Reliability and Efficiency in Oil Sands Mining
Due to the handling of abrasive oil sands materials, equipment used in the oil sands mining industry experiences a much shorter service life than other mining industries. Equipment covers from front mining moving equipment 7495 shovels or equivalent models, 797F haul trucks, dozers, graders, to plant, ore preparation plant crushers, conveyer, apron feeder chain, vibrating screen, slurry pipeline and pumps etc. The damage mechanisms depend on service conditions: dry abrasion (high, low stress or combined), impact, erosion, corrosion or erosion-corrosion or fatigue crackings.
For more information on the mining process and related material challenges, including at Imperial Oil, refer to the links provided below:
Technology and Knowledge Gaps
- Current attachment methods of wear materials to base support metals suffer spalling off or cracking due to cyclic loading in operation. Very good wear-resistant materials cannot survive high-impact or high-stress abrasion conditions.
- 3D printing of hybrid materials or large components is still not fully developed in the industry.
- Large equipment welding and designs suffer from cyclic loading fatigue service, how to improve its fatigue life is not fully optimized in industry, and the equipment experiences premature failures.
Preferred Processes and Methods
- New materials/technology to provide much-improved wear performance compared to current weld overlay, casted wear materials etc.
- Improved attachment method/designs for wear-resistant materials to base supporting metals.
- Repairing technology on polymer materials to provide comparable wear resistance as base polymer (polymer lined piping).
- Advanced inspection technology, like robotics, NDT methods to inspect parts/areas that are hard to reach or cannot be inspected with current NDT methods.
- New engineering design/materials/methods to improve fatigue life on mine mobile equipment.
- New technology that can reduce parts lead time, inventory, improve designs and operating efficiency.